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We audited the Westmoreland County Housing Authority’s Housing Choice Voucher program.  We selected the Authority for audit because the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) authorized it more than $8.7 million in program funding per year for fiscal years 2013 and 2014 and we had not audited its program.  Our audit objective was to determine whether the Authority managed its waiting list and selected families in accordance with requirements and whether program property owners and Authority employees participating in the program were eligible for assistance.  This is the first of two reports to be issued on the Authority’s program.

The Authority did not always ensure that its waiting list was accurate and updated or that it selected applicants from the waiting list appropriately.  These conditions existed because the Authority failed to follow policies and procedures established in its administrative plan.  As a result, applicants were not treated fairly and consistently in accordance with program requirements. 

A data match analysis showed that the Authority was providing program assistance to 11 households that were also property owners in the program.  Documentation showed that the Authority properly provided assistance to those households before they purchased their homes through the Authority’s Homeownership Program.  The data match also showed it was providing program assistance to two of its employees.  The Authority properly provided assistance to these participants before hiring them as employees.

We recommend that HUD require the Authority to (1) review and update its waiting list to correct the errors identified by the audit, (2) establish and maintain project-based waiting lists as required by its administrative plan, and (3) develop and implement controls to ensure that it follows the policies and procedures in its administrative plan for updating its waiting list and selecting applicants from it.  We also recommend that the Director of HUD’s Pittsburgh Office of Public Housing provide technical assistance to the Authority to ensure that it properly manages its waiting list and selects applicants in accordance with applicable requirements.